The best laptops for drawing and digital art in 2024: draw and create with these top picks

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Discovering the best laptop for drawing and digital art is essential for artists who demand precision and fluidity in their creative endeavors. 

The best laptops for these discerning users are designed to cater specifically to the needs of digital artists, balancing robust performance with an optimized workflow. Essential for running demanding drawing and the best graphic design software, these devices must possess not only the power akin to the best laptops for graphic design but also features that enhance the creative process. This includes vibrant, high-resolution displays that make every stroke and color pop, transforming creative visions into breathtaking digital masterpieces.

Our comprehensive reviews of laptops and tablets tailored for drawing and digital art are aimed at guiding you to the perfect portable companion for your artistic journey. Through an extensive evaluation process, we've scrutinized everything from portability and computing performance to the quality of the display and its battery life. Recognizing the importance of affordability, our selections span a variety of price points and include devices from leading platforms such as Windows, Android, and Apple

Whether you're a professional artist or a hobbyist seeking to bring your digital art to life, our curated list of the best laptops for drawing and digital art ensures that you'll find a device that not only meets your creative needs but also fits your budget.

The best laptops for drawing and digital art in 2024 

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

 Below you'll find full write-ups for each of the best laptop for drawing and digital art options in our list. We've tested each one extensively, so you can be sure that our recommendations can be trusted. 

HP Spectre x360 (2021)

(Image credit: Future)

The Best laptop for drawing and digital art overall

Best laptop for drawing overall

Specifications

CPU: 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-1165G7 (quad-core, 8MB Intel Smart Cache, up to 4.7GHz with Turbo Boost)
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe (integrated)
RAM: 16GB LPDDR4 (3200MHz)
Storage: 512GB SSD (PCIe, NVMe, M.2)
Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) touch

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous design
+
Excellent battery life
+
Great performance for day-to-day work
+
Large, comfortable keyboard

Reasons to avoid

-
Fans can get noisy
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Better in laptop over tablet configuration

This computer attempts to bridge the gap between a laptop and a tablet, by being either, whenever you need to. On the surface, it looks like a sleek traditional portable computer, but you can flip the screen entirely back, and use it as a touchscreen enabled tablet-like device.

The biggest upgrade on the HP Spectre x360 (2021) over the previous model are its components and performance, with the laptop being a showcase for Intel’s latest mobile processors. Overall, as a result of the new CPU, along with a hefty 16GB of RAM, this machine is a great little performer, with Windows 10 feeling fast and responsive. Multi-tasking, with numerous apps open at once, alongside plenty of Edge tabs too, didn’t really slow down its performance, either.

One of the biggest quality of life improvements Intel is pushing with its Intel Evo platform is long battery life, and the HP Spectre x360 doesn’t disappoint here. It lasted an excellent 11 hours and 22 minutes in our own battery life test, which loops a 1080p video file at 50% brightness until the battery dies.

Overall it’s a great and powerful portable machine, albeit pricey, which will do whatever you need it to.

Read our full HP Spectre x360 (2021) review

Dell XPS 17

(Image credit: Future)

The Best laptop for drawing and digital art on the go

Best laptop for artists on the move

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-11800H (8-core, 24MB Intel Smart Cache, up to 4.6GHz with Turbo Boost)
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus; Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060
RAM: 32GB DDR4 (3,200MHz)
Storage: 1TB SSD (PCIe, NVMe, M.2)
Screen: 17-inch UHD (3,840 x 2,400) touch

Reasons to buy

+
Thin and light
+
Great keyboard
+
As beautiful as ever
+
Excellent performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Not a budget pick
-
Not enough ports

This Dell’s 4K display is simply incredible. Dell sent us the 4K touch version, and while the OLED Dell XPS 13 is still better – it is OLED after all – this is still one of the best laptop displays we've used, and it’s excellent for media work

Because this laptop is packed with an 11th-generation Intel Core processor and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, it probably shouldn't be super surprising that it absolutely chews through most workloads. 

Where this laptop really shines though, is in creative workloads, where that 4K display can really shine. Whether you're working in Adobe Premiere, Photoshop or Blender, you're going to save more time on this laptop than with the latest MacBook Pro, and that's largely thanks to the CUDA cores in the RTX 3060 here. 

Combine the powerful discrete graphics with the RAM and the powerful, high-wattage H-series processor and this is a laptop you can use to edit video in 4K on the road without making it a total exercise in frustration.

The only major downside to this laptop for drawing & artwork is that all this power and performance comes at a price, but you do get what you pay for.

Read our full Dell XPS 17 (2021) review

Acer Spin 5

(Image credit: Future)

The Best 2-in-1 laptop for drawing and digital art`

Best 2-in-1 laptop for drawing

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics
RAM: 16GB LPDDR4X
Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Screen: 13.5-inch FHD (2256x1504) VertiView IPS Display

Reasons to buy

+
Highly portable with perfect screen for note-taking
+
Fantastic battery life
+
Feature rich stylus included
+
Powerful 10th-Gen Intel CPU

Reasons to avoid

-
3:2 display not ideal for 16:9 video
-
Bloatware includes desktop pop-up ads

Typically, 2-in-1 laptops have a 16:9 aspect ratio, which means they're nearly twice as long as they are wide. That can make them feel cramped when drawing on them. Not so with the Spin 5: its 3:2 ratio is absolutely fantastic in that regard.

The included stylus is small and can feel a bit flimsy, but since it's got its own charging and housing port on the side of the laptop, it's much less likely to get lost or broken than those shipped with other 2-in-1s.

Arguably one of the stylus’ most useful features, should it run out of power, is the ultra-fast charging system: just plug it back into the laptop for around 15-20 seconds, and you’ll get about 90 minutes' worth of charge.

The Spin 5 doesn't look like it’s going to be as powerful as it actually is. Squeezed into its slender chassis is the latest Intel Ice Lake mobile processors with Intel's new Iris Plus integrated GPU, which does a respectable job for integrated graphics.

As for multitasking, the Spin 5 is a champ. These processors chew through all but the most demanding apps without breaking a sweat. What's more, the 16GB of RAM are going to make memory-hungry apps like Adobe Photoshop much more manageable.

Read our full Acer Spin 5 review

iPad Pro 12.9 (2021)

(Image credit: Apple)

The Best tablet for drawing and digital art

Best tablet for artists

Specifications

CPU: Apple M1
Graphics: 8-core GPU
RAM: 8GB / 16GB
Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB / 2TB
Screen: 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR Mini LED LCD 2048 x 2732

Reasons to buy

+
Phenomenal power
+
Fantastic display
+
Strong battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
An almighty price
-
128GB storage feels limited
-
Lackluster color options

The iPad Pro 2021 12.9-inch tablet isn’t for everyone. The biggest caveats are that it’s incredibly expensive, and that it’s an overwhelmingly large device for those who don’t need a screen this big (although few artists will be complaining about a well-sized digital canvas).

The new Liquid Retina XDR Mini LED display is gorgeous, with max brightness levels unseen on other tablets – this slate can compete with the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 Plus, which felt like a major upgrade for tablet screens only recently. The screen is one of the best for watching movies on, and it'll also suit you well for everyday tasks.

Much has been made of Apple’s M1 chipset, and this is the first time the company has included its new, desktop-power silicon in an iPad. Do you absolutely need it? Probably not, but if you want some truly impressive power that blows every other tablet out of the water, again the latest iPad Pro is a great choice.

You likely won’t appreciate having this much power on tap unless you’re intensively gaming, using power-hungry design apps, or pushing the tablet to its multi-tasking limits. It will load apps faster than before, but in most cases the differences are only noticeable to the average user when powering up the App Store’s most intensive experiences.

Battery life is solid – in our testing we found that the tablet would last for around 10 hours on a full charge. Your mileage will of course vary depending on what you’re doing, but this is great battery performance that no creator should be disappointed by. 

Read our full iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) review

Surface Pro 8 outside on a table showing Windows 11 desktop

(Image credit: Future)

The Best drawing laptop overall

Best drawing laptop all-rounder

Specifications

CPU: 3.0GHz Intel Core i7-1185G7 (quad-core, 12MB Intel Smart Cache, up to 4.8GHz with Turbo Boost)
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 16GB LPDDR4x
Storage: 256GB SSD (PCIe, NVMe, M.2)
Screen: 13-inch QHD (2,880 x 1,920) touch

Reasons to buy

+
Faster processor
+
Gorgeous new design
+
Bigger display
+
Thunderbolt 4

Reasons to avoid

-
No more USB Type-A
-
Type Cover still sold separately

With a device that's meant to be as portable as the Surface Pro 8, performance is always a difficult balance to strike. You want it to be fast, but you don't want to push it so hard that battery life goes down the toilet and it becomes too hot to handle. 

Using Cinebench R15 - a test we've retired and replaced with Cinebench R23 - the Surface Pro 8 is nearly 50% faster than the Surface Pro 7, which is a pretty incredible generational increase. The difference isn't as stark in GeekBench 4, but it's still noticeably faster. 

What's more impressive, though, is how the Surface Pro 8 fares against its big sibling, the Surface Laptop Studio. The tablet is just 12% slower than Microsoft's so-called creative workstation in Cinebench, and just 5% slower in GeekBench. This is all in spite of the fact that the Surface Pro 8 is half as thick as the Laptop Studio and nearly half the weight, making it a fantastic and powerful tablet for its size.

Testing the Surface Pro 8 battery life using PCMark 10, we managed to get 8 hours and 15 minutes out of it, making this a device you can totally use to work all day without needing a charger. If you're an artist, the Surface Pro 8 is just as good as ever for illustrators, graphic artists and more, especially if you pair it with the Surface Pen. This is an essential device for any artist on the go. 

Read our full Microsoft Surface Pro 8 review

How to choose the best laptops for drawing and digital art

The best laptops and tablets for drawing and artwork offer a lag-free creative experience to users. You’ll want to pick a device based on your content creation requirements. 

If you plan to use graphics intensive apps for your creative work, look for a laptop with a powerful GPU and CPU, with plenty of RAM. For those who’re often on the road, long battery life and high screen brightness are crucial. Make sure to assess the device’s weight and size if you want a light and portable carrying experience. 

Also, if you have additional devices to connect, check whether the laptop offers the right type of connectivity options for you. 

How we test the best laptops for drawing and digital art

We've tested hardware built for a range of industries and professions. This includes the best laptops for video editing, best laptops for photo editing, and even the best laptops for writers

To select the best tablets and laptops for artists, we took into account their performance, portability, storage, and screen size and quality. 

We looked at their CPU and RAM and how well they handled different graphic-intensive applications, like Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, or any of the best alternatives to Photoshop for that matter. We evaluated their battery life while running different types of applications, like video players, web browsers, and so on. 

And we didn't stop at drawing software, either. In our experience, most of the best video editing laptops possess the specs you'll need to flawlessly run drawing software. We also checked whether the device features accessories like a stylus or true drawing screen for those who demand color accuracy or professional workflows and outputs.

John Loeffler
Components Editor

John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 


Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.


You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.


Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).

With contributions from